THE HOME OF SPECIALIST MUSIC Supporting independent labels and artists from across the globe

Say And Play

Compact Disc (Audio)
No of Discs:
Release Date:
Jewel Case
Catalog Number:
Say And Play
Say And Play


Second ECM album from Batagraf the "percussion think-tank" convened by Jon Balke and Helge Andreas Norbakken. Its inspirations include the Bata drums of Yoruba culture, present in both Nigerian and Cuban music and Batagraf also reference the Wolof culture of Senegal and Gambia and the drums pattern of Arabic music. Say And Play, with hand drum grooves and words interwoven, draws upon the inner energy and creativity of these cultures.

"Drumming is speaking and language is a miracle, in all its manifestations" says Jon Balke. Drums are at the centre of the music here, sending out their messages amid the swirl of electronic keyboards. Clouds of sound-colour, lifted up by taut drums.

Best known as the composer-arranger of the Magnetic North Orchestra and Siwan and as a prodigiously gifted improvising jazz pianist, Balke is also a committed percussion player and has been since the early 1980s when he was part of the Afro-jazz group Eolén. Helge Norbakken has developed a new approach to percussion, inspired by West African traditions which he has successfully deployed in Balke's groups and those of Marie Boine, Jon Hasell and others.

Vocal input on Say and Play comes from two sources: the Norwegian poetry of Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen, read by the author, and the lightly floating vocals of Emilie Christensen, who sings Balke's own (English) lyrics.

Emilie Christensen, daughter of drumming legend Jon Christensen, makes her ECM debut here. She is gaining recognition for her work with a number of Norwegian bands including the Oslo JazzNonett. Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen, born 1949, is a well-known Norwegian poet and dramatist. He has published 13 collections of poems and won national and international prizes for his work. Kit drummer Erland Dhalen is well known to followers of modern jazz of the north for his work in the groups of Nils Petter Molvaer and Eivind Aarset.

Personnel: Jon Balke (piano, keyboards, electronics, tongoné, darbouka, percussion), Helge Andreas Norbakken (sabar, gorong, djembe, talking drum, shakers, percussion), Emilie Stoesen Christensen (vocals), Erland Dahlen (drums), Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen (poetry reading)


  1. Name
  2. Baka #65
  3. Everyday Music
  4. Riddle #1
  5. Calmly
  6. Vjup
  7. Tonk
  8. The Wind Calmer
  9. Riddle #2
  10. Azulito
  11. Hundred-Handed
  12. One Change
  13. Winds
  14. GMBH
In stock

Fast delivery & returns worldwide

In stock
Search engine powered by ElasticSuite